Tyler Matzek (5-9, 4.32) has not been injured in 2014. He arrived in the Major Leagues on June 11 in the middle of the Colorado Rockies’ late spring disintegration. Matzek was impressive in his first start, beating the Braves on 2 runs over 7 innings. He lost 9 of his next 13 starts, building an unsightly 2-9/5.38 bottom-line, then on August 25 he beat the Giants 3-2, allowing 2 runs on 8 hits in 7 innings. He followed that up a week ago, holding the Arizona Diamondbacks scoreless for 7 innings and his 4th win. And last night he did what no other of the Rockies’ 8 dozen or so 2014 starting pitchers have done, hurling a complete 9 innings and shutting-out the San Diego Padres on 3 hits for a 3-0 Colorado victory at Coors Field in downtown Denver.
Matzek retired the Padres in order in 5 of the 9 innings. There wasn’t a San Diego runner past 1st-base until Abraham Almonte doubled to left-center on a questionable fielding route by Corey Dickerson leading-off the 9th. There wasn’t more than a single Padres’ runner on base in any inning, and only one reached via the base-on-balls. The left-handed rookie threw 103 pitches, 75 for strikes, and he struck-out 6.
Colorado scored single runs in the 1st, 5th, and 6th. They did some bone-headed base-running, Charlie Blackmon and Dickerson both making outs at 3rd base in rally-choking situations. Drew Stubbs got Matzek a run to play with early, driving San Diego starter Eric Stults’ (6-16, 4.55) ninth pitch of the game into the Rockies’ bullpen in right-field. In the 5th Zero Improvement Guy DJ LeMahieu led-off with a single, moved-up on a Matzek sacrifice and scored on a Blackmon single. The next inning it was Nolan Arenado with the big fly, pulling Stults’ second pitch of the inning on a laser-flight 2/3 of the way up into the left-field pavillion. But that about covered it. Stults lasted 6.1, surrendering the 3 runs on 8 hits. The Padres used Frank Garces, Nick Vincent and RJ Alvarez to close things out.
Matzek opened the 9th at 92 pitches and got behind Almonte, who doubled over Dickerson’s head after a mound visit by Colorado catcher Mike McKenry. Almonte moved to 3rd on a ground-out by Alexi Amarista, but then Matzek dodged a bullet when Yangervis Solarte drilled a slider smack into his glove, and Rene Rivera lined harmlessly to Stubbs in center. Matzek earned a GatorAde dump from LaTroy Haskins, re-assigned from the closer role for the night. It is unknown whether a contribution will be sent to the ALS Foundation.
The combatants are back at it at Coors tonight with freshly-inked Jorge De La Rosa going for Colorado, and Jon Wieland returning for San Diego after 28 months of recovery from Tommy John surgery. Game time is 6:10 MDT.